It was time to get the Friday night fix – time for kebabs!! But without the mandatory salad that ends up on the pavement. Obviously due to my outright hatred of lamb in all its guises it needed to be based around some vegetarian type stuff. What we ended up with (although I failed to photograph the end product) was rather delicious if I say so myself. So to follow is the recipe for the filling and my non-cardboard pitta bread.
Falafel (adapted from Toriavey.com)
- 1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans – you must start with dry, do NOT substitute canned, they will not work!
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I use dried)
- 3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted) (I use dried garlic flakes – a good handful)
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I use chilli powder as I don’t have cayenne)
- Pinch of ground cardamom (I crush a few cardamom seeds and use that)
- Vegetable oil for frying (grapeseed, canola, and peanut oil work well)
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- Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with about 3 inches of cold water. Leave overnight.
- Next morning, drain and rinse the chickpeas well and return to the bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the oil) to the bowl.
- Get your stick blender (unless you are lucky enough to have a food processor) and bash/blend the ingredients until you get a thick paste.
- Fork through the mixture (and Tori says remove any larger chunks of chickpeas remaining – but I don’t), cover with an acquired shower cap (or clingfilm if you’ve not stayed in a hotel recently) and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Get your husband (or alternative fryer) to put some vegetable oil into your wok.
- Whilst the oil is heating, shape your balls. I prefer smaller ones!
- Once oil is to temperature, leave the kitchen to your better half. He will gently add the balls to the oil and fry them, turning as required to achieve consistent colouration – just shy of Steve’s summer tan.
- Lift from pan using a slotted spoon and leave to drain on paper towels.
- Your falafels are now ready to eat.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Carrots – grated or thinly sliced using a veggie peeler or mandolin
- Numnees (Sultanas to the rest of the world) – Green and Golden work best
- Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together and leave for at least an hour for the flavours to amalgamate and the numnees to plump up.
- 1 tin chickpeas (drained)
- Vegetable oil
- Lemon juice.(Jif will do – if you don’t have fresh)
With your stick blender wizzy wizzy woo woo the chickpeas with approximately 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice and enough garlic for your taste (start with one clove initially). Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, blitz until smooth adding more oil if the consistency is too thick. Test for flavour and adjust accordingly. (We nearly always add more salt!) Transfer to suitable serving dish (if required and you can be bothered with the extra washing up). A pinch of cayenne on top looks good (we use paprika as we don’t have cayenne!)
This is my adaptation from two recipes found online.
- 250g strong white flour
- 1 sachet dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Warm Water
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and some of the water and mix the ingredients together using your fingers. Gradually add more water and the additional oil until everything is incorporated and you have a soft dough.
Put a small amount of oil onto your “kneading board”. Place the dough and then knead for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Put into an oiled bowl and leave until it has doubled in size.
Once doubled in size place dough onto flour-dusted “kneading board” and knock the dough back. Split the dough into 6 equally sized balls.Roll each ball into a round(ish) shape 3-5mm thick.
Get your husband (or other responsible adult) to heat a non stick frying pan to medium-high heat and dry fry each pitta bread for 3-4 minutes on each side until slightly coloured but still soft. To get more colour push the bread down taking care not to puncture it. The breads puff up beautifully!! Keep warm in foil until all pittas are cooked then serve with all the above!!
If you don’t eat them all in one go, they reheat rather nicely under the grill but are just as good cold and nothing like the cardboard ones you buy in the supermarket!!
My vegetarianism has come about in some strange ways. As a child I didn’t really like meat (I think I found all the chewing time-consuming) but loved mince, sausages, bacon etc. Then pregnancy came along and the small amount of meat products I could eat became ever smaller – effectively the only meat I would eat was chicken breast. Since arriving in France I have even stopped eating that (apart from one slight deviation – a Chicken Tikka Karai in Bishop’s Waltham with my mum and Mac!) However, there are times when I find that I crave a particular food (knowing full well that I wouldn’t enjoy anymore than the very first taste). These are generally “aroma-related” such as Wall’s sausages, smoked gammon and bacon sarnies but sometimes something as simple as a Scotch egg has me craving! After the success of the deep fried falafels we thought this might make a good alternative to the sausage meat. Steve did a bit of looking online but most of the recipes he found used a similar base to falafels but then involved a lot of faffing around with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs etc. We decided to just go for our own recipe.
We made the falafel mix as above, boiled (and I am sorry to say hardboiled – but that is the only way I eat them) eggs and then wrapped them in the falafel mix. I had slightly more mix than I needed so just turned the rest into normal falafels for another day. Once again cooking duties were handed over to the master fryer and after several minutes of occasional turning we ended up with these beauties, which we served with a salad!! Tasty!